In a world that frames people with anxiety as ‘weak,’ Gina Rodriguez shoves back.
"Jane the Virgin" star Gina Rodriguez recently shared a short but powerful video on Instagram.
The Golden Globe-winning actress opened up about her history with anxiety in the caption of her video contribution to Norwegian photographer Anton Soggiu’s "Ten Second Portraits" project.
My beautiful friend @antonsoggiu came to visit from Norway and he included me in his magical art. TEN SECOND PORTRAITS. It’s always great to be in front of his lens but this time it was just me. Bare and exposed in the streets of la. No makeup. No styling. Just me. I suffer from anxiety. And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathize with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s ok to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. I like watching this video. It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel maybe even an acceptance. This is me. Puro Gina.
A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on May 26, 2017 at 12:08pm PDT
It’s always a bit surprising to learn that people who spend their lives in front of cameras and audiences have anxiety.
But it really shouldn’t be.
Anxiety disorders are extremely common, with an estimated 40 million U.S. adults experiencing them in some form or another. For many people, anxiety can be what’s known as an "invisible illness." In other words, someone might be high-functioning in their professional and social lives and not ever look or act "sick" or show visible signs of an anxiety disorder.
In the 10-second clip Rodriguez shared, most of us would not be able to tell by looking at it that she was feeling nervous — she bites her lip a bit, though mostly she’s smiling. But to her, the anxiety is obvious.
"Watching this clip, I could see how anxious I was, but I empathize with myself," she wrote in the caption.
Rodriguez snaps a few pictures with fans at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
There’s an important piece of advice hidden in Rodriguez’s message about thriving in the face of challenges.
"I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s ok to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail," Rodriguez explained of watching herself in the video.
"I like watching this video," she wrote. "It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel maybe even an acceptance.This is me."
Rodriguez and her "Jane the Virgin" co-star Jamie Camil appear on a panel at the 2017 Vulture Festival. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Vulture Festival.
Different people cope with challenges in different ways, especially when it comes to the majorly stigmatized world of mental health. For Rodriguez, that means acknowledging and accepting that this is part of who she is — and in a world that paints people with anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses as being "weak," it can be the strongest move of all.